Fibromyalgia Treatment: Acupuncture is Effective in Reducing Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that causes chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain. It is often associated with one or more other symptoms such as fatigue, stiffness, and insomnia. The pain of Fibromyalgia syndrome (also known as FMS) typically includes particular areas of increased sensitivity called tender points.
Fibromyalgia affects up to 2% of the population. The best treatment approach is integrative combining Western medicine, therapeutic lifestyle changes and complementary therapies. Complementary therapy, like acupuncture is effective in reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia. An important study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed that acupuncture reduced symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia including reduction in pain, fatigue, and anxiety. In addition, it was found to be as effective as some medications. Using the FIO score (a standard measure of fibromyalgia activity), acupuncture reduced the score by 7 points. This clinical benefit is comparable to pharmacological interventions such as tricyclic antidepressants (a decrease of 7 points) and the pain medication Tramadol (a decrease of 6 points)
According to the lead author, Dr. David P. Martin, M.D., PhD, “We found that acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia. Symptomatic improvement was not restricted to pain relief and was most significant for fatigue and anxiety.”
It is believed that acupuncture may actually block pain impulses from reaching the brain. Acupuncture increases production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. The gentle insertion of acupuncture needles at specific sites causes a measurable release of endorphins into the blood stream. These natural pain killers help decrease pain. Repeated treatments are felt to up-regulate endorphins causing increased production of endorphins and thus a sustained reduction in pain.
Acupuncture is felt to increase a patient’s pain threshold, which is normally low in patients with fibromyalgia. It also increases the production of neurotransmitters, which carry impulses between nerve cells. Acupuncture increases serotonin, which is also typically low in fibromyalgia patients. Seratonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for “feeling happy”. It controls mood by helping with sleep, calming anxiety and reducing depression.
Neurotransmitters stimulate or inhibit nerve impulses in the brain that relay sensations such as pain. Elevated levels of neurotransmitters can increase a patient’s tolerance to pain.
Benefits of Acupuncture For Fibromyalgia Patients
Relaxation / Stress Reduction
Reduction of depression
Possible boost to the immune system
Better overall health
Acupuncture is a safe and effective way of reducing symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia Treatment with Acupuncture in Bergen County, NJ
Dr. Betty Keller specializes in acupuncture, combined with Western medicine in treating fibromyalgia. Her medical practice is in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, serving surrounding areas and Bergen County.
To request an appointment to visit her office at 777 Franklin Ave | Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417, please contact us: 201-485-7930.